A report from Challenger, Gray & Christmas says tech sector is losing jobs at the slowest rate in the last decade, possibly presaging a quicker recovery in that field.

The report says the pace of job loss was down for most industries in 2010, but the tech sector lost fewer - 46,825. That is a 73 percent decrease from the 174,629 technology jobs cut in 2009 and the lowest total in the outplacement firm's records going back to 2000. The 73 decline in year-over-year job cuts exceeds the 59 percent decrease in overall job cuts across all industries, which fell from to 529,973 in 2009 from 1,288,033 in 2010.

Employers in the tech sector, which includes computer, electronics, and telecommunications firms, announced 35,375 job cuts between January and the end of June 2010. From July through the end of the year, job cuts totaled 11,450.

The tech sector job cuts accounted for 8.8 percent of all job cuts in last year. That is the lowest percentage of technology cuts on record. It is down from 13.6 percent in 2009, when the current recession hit hardest.

This compares favorably with the dot com collapse in 2001, when technology sector job cuts reached a record high of 695,581, representing 36 percent of all job cuts announced that year.

The electronics industry saw the biggest drop in job cuts, which fell 92 percent from 65,300 in 2009 to 5,072 last year. Cuts by computer firms dropped 66 percent, while telecommunications companies saw a decrease of 55 percent.

These firms are definitely on the leading edge of the recovery, as companies across the country and around the globe begin to upgrade and reinvest in their technology, said John A. Challenger, chief executive officer of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, in a statement. The surge in smart phones and tablets alone is helping to drive growth in electronics, telecom and computers, he said.

Challenger, Gray and Christmas says industry analysts expect the tech sector to continue recovering in 2011. According to a survey by InformationWeek, 55 percent of information technology professionals said their companies will boost IT spending in 2011, while only 19 percent expect spending to fall and 26 percent expect it to stay the same. Forrester Research forecasts that 2011 IT spending will increase 7.5 percent in the U.S. and 7.1 percent globally.

Technology jobs are also expected to grow more quickly over the next decade. The number of network systems and data communications analysts is expected to increase by 53 percent by 2018, while the number of computer software engineers expands by 34 percent, according to projections from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

None of this means that finding a job will be easy, Challenger said Despite the potential for improved hiring in the new year, there are still a lot people competing for every opening and many employers are very particular about what skills and experience they want new workers to have.